Catering Content to the Muted Generation

Good storytelling is gold; great audio and video content cannot exist without it. The challenge is that even when we have that skill in spades, there are dozens of steps in the production and distribution process that have even the best scratching their heads. Ever-changing formats, codecs, platforms, and mobile viewing options are just a few things to consider to get the most out of the videos we work so hard on. 

It’s hard not to think about how much it costs to create videos; how much my time is worth, my coworkers’, the tech team, the editing software monthly fees, and hosting platforms. In the end, we all share the same hope: that our videos will be watched, shared, and enjoyed by our target audience. Which, let’s face it, is mostly millennials and younger.

So what can we do to lighten the load and rest easier knowing our content will get the kind of engagement and reach it deserves? There are two key things to focus on. The first is to automate wherever possible to ensure your energy stays on the creative task at hand. The second is to pay closer attention to what may have been overlooked by paying attention to the details or finishing touches of a piece of content.

For example, how many people really know that a strong video thumbnail is often a key driver of increased audience engagement? There’s a very good reason why Vevo, YouTube, and Netflix rigorously A/B test their thumbnails to substantially increase views. Viewers’ gut reaction to an image can make or break whether they click on your video or not. It doesn’t matter how good the content is; if the thumbnail is lacking, your video won’t stand a chance. Tube Buddy is a helpful resource to test thumbnail performance side by side. 

Read more: The ABCDs of Innovation – Leveraging Technology to Stay Connected

Another best practice that is useful on the automation front is inserting a professional closed captioning and subtitling service into your content workflow. I emphasize “professional” because it means capturing at least 99% accuracy. Here’s why:

  • 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video when closed captions are available. 
  • 69% are watching their videos on silent when out and about during the day.
  • Mobile phone usage has skyrocketed by 50% during COVID-19.
  • Three letters: SEO. When there is text embedded in your video, you’re helping Google (and your audience) find it!
  • Research shows that augmenting an auditory experience with visual elements like captions more than doubles student retention and comprehension levels.

The average cost for captioning (in English) is somewhere between $1 – $5 per minute. Subtitles are more expensive and can cost between $5 – $10 per minute. Even at these rates, the value of the additional reach can be measured first in increased views and shares, and then in increased downloads or conversions. 

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Let’s use YouTube as an example. Professionally captioned video content will lead to more advertising dollars because a video with captions gives YouTube the knowledge it needs to determine how “good” your video is. When YouTube can compare watch times, views, and shares with the content itself, it will then share your video with a wider audience interested in the same subject. If that new audience does the same, YouTube will share it yet again with an even larger audience.

To ensure your creativity is uninhibited and your content flows more freely to wider audiences, consider the details and automation in your next project. Test the results for yourself!

Read more: Let Go of Your Brand Ads. Hold Onto Your Purpose

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